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Eric Morken video: Complete spring-scouting breakdown for a better 2022 whitetail season

Eric Morken goes into detail on three setups he recently found scouting, and how getting into the woods this time of year makes such a difference during the fall deer season.

Buck rub
This big rub made by a good buck in Minnesota was found in a prime bedding location during a scouting trip on March 17, 2022. Scouting in the spring before the green-up of summer can help hunters more clearly see how deer are using the landscape on the properties they hunt.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — If I had to pinpoint one thing that started consistently leading to more mature buck encounters during archery season for me, it has to do with scouting.

I enjoy scouting almost as much as hunting itself. That's because I have watched how much it works.

Nothing leads to confidence in bow hunting like doing work in the spring, having a spot ready to go and then slipping in for the hunt months later while executing a plan.

Scouting is where we put together the puzzle for the following season, and spring is my favorite time of year to scout.

A lot of factors go into that. The previous year's rut sign like rubs and scrapes (when the snow is off the ground), along with the best trail systems, jump off the landscape at this time of year.

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Buck rub
Buck sign like this rub from the 2021 rut was very evident while scouting on March 17, 2022.
Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

I find it's easier to identify areas of good bedding, whether that's seeing worn-down beds once the snow is gone or even identifying the thickest areas of cover on a property. Everything can look like a jungle if you wait until the summer months.

Most people do a lot of their hunting during the rut. You will be able to better identify things like pinch points and trail intersections in proximity to those bedding areas that make for the best rut spots.

Leading up to the Minnesota archery opener on Sept. 19, I wrote a column that laid out my best guess on how I would try to get on an early-season buck.

When I do a scouting trip in the spring, I'm looking to identify bedding, then figure out a way to set up off of that bedding location, either within it or near it. I don't want to go back in there until it's time to hunt the following fall.

These videos below break down three spots I identified on a recent scouting trip in Minnesota on March 17, 2022.

This first video looks at an overlooked spot that shows a huge amount of sign, indicating deer are using it in spite of human activity in close proximity.

This second video looks at a specific setup using river access that has a huge amount of rut sign from 2021.

This third video shows exactly why I chose the tree I did to set up within 100 yards of an island in a river system that is some of the best bedding on this property.

MORE HUNTING COVERAGE:
The Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25, raises approximately $40 million in sales each year. Funds from stamp sales support critical conservation to protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
It is true that few sporting endeavors are more physically challenging than busting through thick stands of aspen, oak, ash and gray dogwood, while following a good dog in search of ruffed grouse.
Hometown Heroes Outdoors has offered nearly 2,200 outdoor excursions — all of them free — to more than 3,000 people in 26 states.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's July brood count survey tallied a 36% increase in duck broods from last year, an estimate 5% higher than the 1965-2021 average.
Minnesota’s waterfowl season opens Sept. 24 with no sign of the once-storied duck's return to the state.
North Dakota’s grouse and partridge seasons have been open a week, and by all accounts, hunting success was mixed on the opening weekend.
This year, 52 observers from across Minnesota’s ruffed grouse range – all wildlife and natural resources professionals – provided brood count data.
Doug Wendel’s Central Canada barren ground caribou ranks second for the three-year awards period.

Related Topics: NORTHLAND OUTDOORSHUNTING
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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